Hemi Dodge Dart racer was factory built for the drag strip

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The Hemi Dart is prepared for drag-strip duty

The Pick of the Day is a purpose-built drag racer straight from the factory, a 1968 LO23 Super Stock Hemi Dodge Dart, powered by a 426 Hemi V8 and created to blast the competition into the weeds.

The Dart is verified as authentic, according to the private seller in Phoenix advertising the historic race car on ClassicCars.com.

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The Dart wears the colors of a restaurant chain

“There were only 80 of these cars ever built,” the seller says in the ad.  “Dodge built these cars specifically to dominate the ¼-mile strips and pushed them out the back doors of the factory with no warranty, expressly prohibiting them from street use.

“Anything that could be lightened or removed to save weight and make these cars faster was done.  The doors were acid dipped lightweight steel, windows were extra thin, fiberglass hood and front fenders were installed, as were seats out of A100 vans.

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The interior is totally track-focused

“There were no creature comforts.  The windows rolled up and down with seatbelt straps.  The seats were installed with aluminum seat brackets with no adjustment, it had no back seat, and definitely had no radio. These were purpose-built race cars.”

This Dart originally was sold to Miller Dodge in St. Louis, Missouri, and raced by the dealership in metallic green paint and campaigned as Miller’s King Dodge, the seller says.

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“This example is extra special with a great history,” according to the ad.  “Included is a letter from Dell Jones confirming this car is, in fact, one of the original LO23 cars.  Not only that, but it also states this car was built in the first batch of these cars to roll out the back door at Dodge and was likely the 15th car built.”

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The Dart as it was raced as the ‘Spider’ by its third owner

The car was subsequently sold and raced by several other owners, who put their own paint jobs on the car.  The third owner was Harry Prososki, who kept the car for 20 years and raced it extensively as the “Spider.”

Its current checkboard livery was applied in 1995 by the owner of Checkers restaurants, although he never took delivery after it was completed.

“When the car is up on the lift, if you look very closely, you can still see a few flecks of the original green metallic paint under the car,” the seller notes.  “The current owner was encouraged to cover it, but he refused feeling that it is a part of this car’s history and should stay there.”

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The race car retains the factory modifications that made it competitive

The performance mods are top notch, the seller adds.

“Under the hood and trailing back to the rear end is where the magic happens,” the seller says.  “The 426 Hemi was recently rebuilt and hasn’t even seen any road miles.  It has a Mopar performance block, 53 mm cam bearings, Smith Brothers push rods and Manton adjusters.  It also sports Stage V intake rockers and stock wide pad exhaust rockers.  When you watch the video, you’ll hear that this car roars.”

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The sale includes The Wise Vehicle Inspection Report as well as the car’s original Certicard, a rare and important piece of its history.

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The performance-tuned carburetors and intake on the 426 Hemi

The Hemi Dart is priced at $135,000, which the seller says is quite a bargain compared with what other authentic examples of these factory race cars typically go for at auction.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

2 COMMENTS

  1. They were designed to dominate and did. History proves the amount of races these vehicles won against their competition. Part of drag racing history, the 426 Hemi will live on as one of the most fearsome competitive engines in the history of our sport. Thanks for the great article, and the great looking vehicle, which is a fine example of these extremely rare cars. Over 50 years ago, it was unheard of, that a production racing vehicle, could run the quarter-mile in the high 10 second Zone. Simply Amazing

    • If I posses a 1967 Dodge Dart GT modified similar to this and have no way to verify the facts who would I speak to, any help would be appreciated it. It seems the GSD and Ham fire makes it difficult.

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